UA VIGRE: Arizona Summer Program 2009

Overview of the Program

The 2009 Arizona Summer Program was an exciting 4-week research experience for undergraduates in Computational Photonics. There were lectures given by experts covering computational, mathematical, physical and engineering aspects of the subject accompanied by hands-on computational research experience. The educational and cultural part of the program included discussions of graduate programs, opportunities in industry and national labs, and visits to Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, Kitt Peak Observatory, Karchner caverns, UofA Mirror Lab, Center for Creative Photography, and hiking in Catalina State park. Our aim was to expose the role of mathematics in the emerging field of nano-optics, and to provide qualified undergraduates with research experience that promotes learning skills necessary for success in graduate school and in industrial R&D environments.

Students worked on their projects related to the ongoing research at the Arizona Center for Mathematical Sciences (Prof. J.V. Moloney, director), and R&D division of the Raytheon Corporation (Dr. P. Kano, senior engineer) in the area of Computational Photonics. The projects were be assigned on the basis of interests, skills and background in computation, mathematics, physics, and engineering. Each group was mentored by a faculty member and a graduate student. The progress reports were discussed at two weekly group meetings (Monday and Wednesday) presentations to the whole group of participants and mentors on Fridays. Following is a list of research topics:

The program was directed by Dr. Brio and co-directed by Dr. Dostert. Each project had a project manager and larger research groups had a team leader. The project managers had different styles of managing. For example, Paul Dostert was a hands-on manager, he has developed, installed and verified each piece of the software students used or developed, and he interacted with students continuously on a daily basis making his “office” in the computer lab, while the others chose a more “industrial” approach to meet with the students at regular times over the week or whenever problems arose.  All project managers wrote most of the software for the projects they had managed.